New target for offensive line

Sophomore Nate Solder enjoyed a successful 2008 season after making the transition from tight end to tackle. Now Colorado coaches have their eyes on a prospect who did the same thing at the high school level and appears to have a bright future no matter what college he chooses.

Evan Finkenberg's coaches a Tesoro High School in Las Flores, Calif., approached him shortly before the season began and asked if he would be willing to give offensive line a try because the team had been struck by a rash of injuries there.

Four months later, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound prospect helped lead his team to the CIF-SS Pac-5 championship game as a left tackle and college coaches from major programs throughout the west took notice. He earned first team all-league and first team all-Orange County honors.

One of those coaches was CU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, who began recruiting Finkenberg in early December. Finkenberg holds just one offer, from Washington State, at this point, but he is anticipating more as the final month of recruiting approaches.

He said he hopes an offer comes from Grimes and CU, where his former teammate and friend Scotty McKnight is a wide receiver.

"They said they were really interested and they will probably offer me soon, if they do," Finkenberg said. "They're going to keep in contact with me.

"If they offer me, I will for sure take a visit out there. I've heard people just love it out there. I hope Colorado offers me because I really want to go out there and check it out."

So far, the only school to offer Finkenberg a scholarship is Washington State, but UCLA, Boise State, Arizona State and Kansas State also have made contact and have started reviewing more film of his senior season.

"I'm just kind of keeping it open and kind of seeing what happens with the whole process," Finkenberg said.

Finkenberg said the message he is receiving from recruiters is pretty consistent across the board. They all like the same characteristics in the way he plays the game.

"I think it's that I play with a mean attitude and just how good I can move my feet and protect the quarterback," he said.

In the championship game, Finkenberg faced two other CU recruiting targets playing for Long Beach Poly. Defensive end Iuta Tepa and safety Stanjarivus McKay both hold offers from the Buffs. McKay has visited Boulder, while Tepa still might come to town in January, despite his soft verbal commitment to Hawaii.

Colorado already has two oral commitments from offensive linemen in the 2009 recruiting cycle. Grimes said late this season that he would like to take at least three offensive linemen and maybe four during this cycle.

Coach Dan Hawkins and Grimes share the philosophy that the program needs to have about 17 scholarship offensive linemen each season. The Buffs will go into spring drills with 12 offensive linemen on scholarship. So it appears likely the program will add at least one more offensive linemen to the roster between now and national signing day.

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